First, there was the “Food Lovers’ Guide to the Triangle.” Now there’s “Chefs of the Mountains: Restaurants & Recipes from Western North Carolina” (John F. Blair, $19.95), by food critic John E. Batchelor. John doesn’t know it, but he helped me with researching my guidebook, “Farm Fresh North Carolina,” because I learned about tons of restaurants in the Triad region from his stories in the Greensboro and Winston-Salem papers. Thank you, John!
John will be promoting the book – with chefs in tow – at several bookstores around the state. Check out the schedule here and keep in mind you’ll probably be treated to some nibbles, too, but no guarantee. He’ll be at my local awesome bookstore, The Regulator, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. with Chef Michael Barbato of Chetola Inn and Resort in Blowing Rock. Speaking of BR, John includes several restaurants from that resort town south of Boone. The book came at the right time for me, as I’ll be in Boone in a month and haven’t been there for several years. I think I’ve picked out the place, thanks to John: Vidalia. We’ll see.
“Chefs of the Mountains” is part of a series started by my friend Ann Prospero, who wrote “Chefs of the Triangle.” Like Ann did, John gives us tasty morsels about each chef’s personal and professional life, followed by several recipes. There is a big difference, though: color photographs grace this book. Lucky John! The only glaring omission is a price key. Maybe next edition?
John says all 40 chefs use fresh, local ingredients, and in sidebars he highlights some of the farmers and artisanal producers, such as Imladris Farm in Fairview and Sunburst Trout Farms in Canton, two places I’ve enjoyed visiting.
If you love the NC mountains and good food (who doesn’t?), John has a book he’d love to sign for you!